Talk:History of Antarctica

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First principles[edit]

This discussion page is now so cluttered that we almost need another one to discuss what to do with this one. I'm placing this item up here partly as a cry for help from more experienced contributors.

One of the problems with the article as it now stands is that it aspires to become a history of the Antarctic region, not a history of the continent of Antarctica, which is what it currently calls itself. There is of course nothing wrong with having an article on the history of the Antarctic, but no encyclopedia can serve its readers unless it calls things by their proper names. With that in mind I would like to offer one or two potential guidelines.

What Whether or not we carry on developing a history of the whole Antarctic region, and whatever we decide to call the article, we need to bear in mind not only the distinction between (1) "the Antarctic" and (2) "Antarctica", but also and more importantly that different languages make (or decline to make) this distinction in different ways. For example French call them both "l'Antartique", Italian "il antartico" and German "die Antarktis". English make the distinction as above, and Russian use "Антарктика" for the region, "Антарктида" for the continent. In Spanish it depends which country you are in, but generally speaking "el antártico" means the region, "la antártica" means the continent, and "la antártida" can mean either. Several of these languages can also make things clearer by means of other expressions which mean things like "Southern Ice Sea", "South Pole", "Southern Ice Continent" etc. Anyway the point is that whenever a colleague says that someone did something or other south of the Antarctic Circle, English speakers may need to pause for a moment to make sure they have understood whether they were referring to the continent of Antarctica or the Antarctic region in general. And yes please, of course I'd like native speakers to come and tweak this if they think it needs tweaking.
Another item under this heading is the alleged distinction between "base" and "station". There are different cultural traditions. In English English and Russian there has been a tendency to go for "station", partly to emphasize the scientific role and also because neither country had any purely military installations in Antarctica. In American English a major non-scientific support complex like McMurdo naturally gets called a base - partly also because it was established and run by the military for so long. In Chile and Argentina the armed services also played prominent roles for many years and the word "base" was the primary term. When special scientific installations were created, such as the first Luís Risopatrón facility, there was an inclination to call them "estaciones".
Who Appeals for respect for the achievements of people from all countries might be more convincing if we could all also start respecting the many other people who took part in expeditions and stop writing as if everything was always done by their commanders. The commanders themselves usually had the good sense to write that "we sailed there, saw that...", etc. so why don't we follow their example? It wasn't Bellingshausen who discovered Peter I Island in 1820, it was the Bellingshausen expedition. Much the same goes for expressions like "Bellingshausen's claim". He never claimed to have discovered Antarctica.
When Why is the history of the Antarctic being reduced to which European saw which bit of which bit first? If I was one of the billions of people who don't speak any European language, and someone told me what this page is about, I doubt if I'd sign up for a language class any time soon. Another thing to bear in mind, even for the people who can't break the habit, is that most continents were not discovered by particular groups of people on particular dates. People bumped into them, lost them, called them by misleading names etc. Other people were usually already living in them. For example there were plenty of Europeans at home when the Chinese came along and discovered Europe. That is why Ross cautioned his fellow Antarctic explorers against being too quick to assume that they were dealing with a continent. No single encounter has ever added a continent to the sum of human (or European) knowledge. Nargoon (talk) 14:14, 9 July 2010 (UTC) Nargoon (talk) 13:53, 9 July 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nargoon (talkcontribs) 13:42, 9 July 2010 (UTC)


What is ACE? Is it suppsoed to be some variation of CE? If so, ACE should be changed to the more commonly accepted CE. -- jackturner3 (talk) 14:22, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Bransfield discovery[edit]

The statement that Bransfield discovered the continent requires amplification/qualification. Traditionally the discovery is disputed between Bransfield (UK), Palmer (USA) and Bellingshausen (Russian Empire). Life in the Freezer accepts Bellingshausen's claim as the most credible. -- Alan Peakall 15:15 Dec 2, 2002 (UTC)

Clarified a bit, in more detail see in the article Fabian von Bellingshausen. Cmapm 00:48, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Terra Australis clarification[edit]

This idea of Terra Australis needs some clarification and references asap Vera Cruz

It looks bogus to me. What is the Turkish Caliphatic Library? "Caliphatic Library" gets zero hits on google and Caliphatic alone gets only a few.
I agree it needs a lot of work, but it's not totally bogus. I've heard the theory in several sources, and I know there is an old Turkish map that is often used as proof, though I don't know what the Turkish Caliphatic Library is. Tokerboy
Presumably you are trying to refer to the Ottoman Archives and the Piri Reis map? Nargoon (talk) 11:20, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

It probably belongs to a separate article, or small print footnote, if anywhere:

The most ancient maps show a Terra Australis. These show bays, rivers and towns labelled in peculiar terms, and were thought notional until the late 1980s, when under-ice maps of the continent (generated by seismic echography) were first compared with fair copies of ancient maps from the Turkish Caliphatic Library (one of the most ancient sources known). Allowing for some hand-copying errors, there is a close correspondence between ancient maps and known under-ice features of the continent. Some people believe that this means Antarctica was mapped and perhaps settled at some time in prehistory when it was not covered with ice. Some investigators have said that Antarctica may have been the lost continent of Atlantis.

Geologic history[edit]

Could we get more on the geologic history, as opposed to the history of exploration? 20:58, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

You could split this article: there could be Exploration of Antarctica and History of Antarctica, or you could create Geological History of Antarctica.
It's just a thought. --DTR 14:31, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
I have added a message box to "publicise" your idea. --DTR 14:42, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

I definitely agree. I came to this page looking for information on the formation of the continent and natural aspects of it and instead found the human history of the exploration of the place. The article should definitely either be renamed to reflect the sole focus on the human history or a sizeable section be included about the actual history of the continent --Lotsofmagnets (talk) 15:08, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Oppose. Let's stick to the useful Wikipedia definition which tells us that "History ... is the study of the human past". There's a perfectly good expression for all other elapsed events, namely "the past". But of course there should also be an article about the geological evolution of the region. Nargoon (talk) 11:16, 9 July 2010 (UTC)


I've corrected some of the problems with distances in this article, and have a few observations:

  • If you don't know what miles are, don't use them.
  • When you do use miles in articles like this, be sure to identify them, no matter which ones you use.
  • When you do identify them, be damn sure you have identified them correctly.

With regard to that last point, before I edited this article, it said "The National Antarctic Expedition (1901 - 1904), led by Robert Falcon Scott, came to within 480 statute miles of the South Pole."

However, the linked article Robert Falcon Scott tells us: "Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Dr Edward Wilson reached 82&deg 1's on December 31 1902."

That's 7 degrees 59 minutes from the South Pole? How many minutes of arc is it? 7×60 + 59 = 479 minutes of arc. So where did this "within 480 statute miles" come from? That's barely within 480 nautical miles. Coincidence? I think not. That latitude was indeed their closest approach, was it not?

I also identified—correctly—and converted Shackleton's 97 miles. Gene Nygaard 02:31, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It turns out that that southernmost latitude was misstated in the Wikipedia Robert Falcon Scott article, and correctly stated in Ernest Shackleton as 82°17′ S. The figures here have been changed to reflect that. For now, I'm just figuring 1 nautical mile per minute of arc; the actual distance should be slightly longer, since for geodetic latitudes each polar minutes of arc is longer than one nautical mile.Gene Nygaard 14:34, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Date of Discovery[edit]

How come the Wikipage on Edward Bransfield has a different date for the discovery of Antartica ? -- PFHLai 18:36, 2005 Jan 26 (UTC)

The first man sighting the Antartica[edit]

There was a mistake in the article that I have corrected, since the first man sighting the Antartica was the Spaniard Gabriel de Castilla, who discovered the South Shetland islands in 1603 when he went lost during a storm. This sighting is perfectly documented in the Spanish Historic Naval Archives from the époque.

Regarding the San Telmo issue, it seems that its rests has been found again after many documents talked about later explorers who saw it.

Well, as I expected, my correction has been quickly removed.

As usual, “never let the Truth disturb the Anglo-Saxon folklore”. If a spick was the first one, let put a Saxon there by balls. My dear buddies,a lie said one thousand times does not become a truth. This is pathetic.

And you have the gluts to call this pamphlet “encyclopedia”?

I removed your statement, because I couldn't verify it easily. If it's true, then of course it should be here, but you really need to cite your sources, particularly if you want to include something that's not widely known or accepted. Worldtraveller 21:53, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Oh. That is ok. You could not verify my statements because probably, you are not allowed to read Spanish. And the British, of course, are not going to talk against their loved folklore.

Lets go. Here you have a document written by Isidoro Vázquez Acuña, member of the Chilean Academy of History, where he explains that Gabriel de Castilla, was the first one sighting the Antarctica in 1603:

Here you have a link to one Spanish Antarctic base. Curiously, the base is called “Gabriel de Castilla”, because Gabriel de Castilla was the first one sighting the Antarctica, in 1603, as they say in the web.

Here a link in English to the Spanish base Gabriel de Castilla (they, of course, do not say why the base is called Gabriel de Castilla):

Here, is another report, from the historical section of El Mundo newspaper where they comment that is sad that Gabriel de Castilla reached land below the 60º of South latitude in 1603, but few people know it.

I also have several reviews of the “Revista de Historia Naval”, where another historian from Argentina says that despite Gabriel de Castilla was the actual discoverer of the Antarctica, in 1603, this fact is not well known. I would put here the scanned document, but I think that is enough.

Regarding the San Telmo issue, I also have in an exemplar of the “Revista de Historia Naval” a detailed historic investigation, where a historian says that the British government gave strict orders to the English sailors to hide the sighting of the rests of the Spanish ship “San Telmo”, lost in 1819 in the cape of Horn , placed now in the Livingston Island. They did it to avoid probably a claim from Spain. I have attached the photos of the rests, which have been identified as the San Telmo ones. Here you have some links about the San Telmo issue.

This is an obsolete historic link which, apart from saying that Gabriel de Castilla was the first human reaching the Antarctic coast in 1603, it is believed that the San Telmo, lost in 1819 near cape of Horn reached the Antarctica, but no one among its crew could go back home to tell it. As I said, recently the rests of the San Telmo have been found in the Livingston Island.

Here, it is commented that Gabriel de Castilla was the first one reaching the Antarctica in 1603, and the first Englishman disembarking in the Shetland Islands, in 1819, found the rests, in one of the islands, of what he identified as the rests of the Spanish ship San Telmo:

Here, the link from the Spanish Antarctic base Juan Carlos I, where is also explained how Gabriel de Castilla was the first one sighting the Antarctica in 1603, and also how the Spanish warship San Telmo, lost near cape of Horn in 1819, reached the Livingston island, where the rests are still visible today.

Well, I could keep in this way a couple of days, but I think it is enough for today.

Oh, here you have what the CIA factbook says:

"Speculation over the existence of a "southern land" was not confirmed until the early 1820s when British and American commercial operators and British and Russian national expeditions began exploring the Antarctic Peninsula region and other areas south of the Antarctic Circle."

Ooohhhh. The Anglo-Saxons were the first ones (after about 700 Spaniards) sighting the Antarctica.

Look, it is not a matter of national pride or so. The problem is that this kind of “mistakes” are very very very common (I could name and prove several “mistakes” more).

I think Gabriel de Castilla, the unfortunate crew of the San Telmo, and the Universal History, deserve something better.

Why are you so biased against English sources? They didn't "completely forget" Castilla. See, for example chronology by a man from the Scott Polar Research Institute: Notice words "probably penetrated" and no mention that he sighted the land on the line about Castilla. Also notice a note about the Russian Fabian von Bellingshausen few lines below with the word sighted on that line. The point is that Bellingshausen fixed the fact that he sighted the land in his diary. Did Castilla or somebody from his squad fix the fact that they sighted the land in any document written by themselves? I think, that if Castilla's doubtful penetration to 64°S should be here, then James Cook's factual crossing of the Antarctic circle in 1773 should be present as well. Both persons, however, seem not to had fixed hypothetic fact, that they sighted the land there. Cmapm 21:15, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

“that if Castilla's doubtful penetration if Castilla's doubtful penetration to 64°S”

Could you explain such statement? Why do you call Castilla´s perfectly documented penetration “doubtful”? I will answer the question for you: because Castilla was Spanish, which is exactly the same reason that leaded the guy of your first link to type that “probably” penetrated to 64º south. Lets analyze the facts:

Castilla in 1603 (probably one of the first humans crossing the cape of Horn) reported that during a storm, his ship was thrown 64º south by bad winds. This was writted in a document, probably feak, because is a Spanish document.

The guy of the first link, correctly writes: “Subsequently several merchant vessels reported being blown south of 60°S [66·67gS] rounding Cabo de Hornos in severe weather”.

A logical mind would think “obviously, during bad weather in the cape of Horn, the winds tend to throw the ships to the south, towards latitudes of 60 degrees approximately”.

But Gabriel de Castilla, is just a liar, or in any case, his report is not trustable. Because he was Spanish.

Gabriel de Castilla wrote that he saw “tierra totalmente cubierta de nieve”, ie, “land totally covered by snow”, but he returned to Chile as soon as he could, and he was lucky, indeed. Since he didn’t claim anything, just reported, and since he didn’t ask the Crown for a recompense or so, and since he didn’t put his own name to the land he saw, a logical mind would deduce that he was not an arrogant person or this kind of person who used to lie to achieve the glory. But nah… he was a liar. Because he was Spanish.

The Dutch sailor Laurenz Claesz, reported, nearly 1607, that he was among the crew of Gabriel de Castilla, and he declared that he was in March, 1603, at 64º south, in a place with a lot of snow. But he lies, since he is….mmm…well, he is a Dutch friend of a Spaniard!  :D

Now, from the Wikipedia about the Livingston Island:

“The (Livingston) island is located at 62 deg 57 min S.”

The wikipedia does not lie at this point. Since it has nothing to do with the Spaniards.  ;)

Look, you can say that the documents of Gabriel de Castilla are doubtful, despite I don’t know why are these documents so doubtful. Sorry, I don't have them in my room, as you can guess. They are probably in the Archivo de Indias, in Seville.

But I assure, indeed, that if this sailor was called Gabriel of Wales, he would be right now “the first man sighting the Antarctica”.

Now the San Telmo issue. A ship lost in 1819 during a storm near cape of Horn. And its rests (with clear signals of survivors) are in….the Livingston Island, at 62 deg 57 min S.

Bad weather ---->62 deg 57 min S. Oh!! What a coincidence. Do you get the relationship?

Nah, these rest in the Livingston Island,and have been put there by the Spaniards after the Anglo-Saxons “discovered” the Antarctica. Because they are Spaniards, and they lie.

I assure, that if the ship was called St. John, there would be 1000 Hollywood movies shot about this tragedy, and we all would know that the first humans reaching the Antarctica were the (British) survivors of the St. John.

And you ask about why I laugh about the English sources?

Look what the Wikipedia says about Drake, the Tierra de Fuego and the Mar de Hoces:

“During the course of the voyage, Drake discovered that Tierra del Fuego, the land seen to the south of the Magellan Strait, was not part of a southern continent as had been believed previously, but an archipelago, or group of islands. The three remaining ships departed for the Strait of Magellan at the southern tip of the continent. This course established Drakes Passage but the route around the bottom of South America, south of Tierra del Fuego where the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans met at Cape Horn was not discovered until 1616.”

This is not just laughable, but also outraging. The Tierra del Fuego, was widely explored by Spaniards much before Drake sailed there. But they were Spaniards, so they are just ignored. And, by the way, Gabriel de Castilla didn’t exist. Because the Cape of Horn was discovered in 1616. The Drakes Passage, was “discovered” by Drake in 1577, despite the Mar de Hoces (the real name of Drakes Passage), was discovered, mapped and reported by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Hoces…in 1525. Again, perfectly documented. But he is just ignored. Because he was a Spaniard and his reports, describing a pass that led to the Paciffic, 55º south approximately, below the Magellanes pass, are doubtful. Because Hoces was Spanish. And he lied (and adivined).

Oh, well... Sometimes their propagandistic campaigns failed. From the Wikipedia:

“He [Drake] was the first Englishman (and the first of any nationality not on a Spanish ship) to circumnavigate the globe”

Drake and the British government started a propagandistic campaign in order to transform Drake as the first man circumnavigating the World (by gluts). Drake always assured that he had been the first one, and even carried a plate in his ship regarding himself as the first one. But there were so many Spaniards doing this before Drake, so many harbors around the world regard the Spanish expeditions, that the British campaign failed, for once.

I say that the Spanish lied and lied (and adivined and adivined), because I don’t see any other reason to explain why the reports written in Spanish are so doubtful. Nah, it can not be true, its me, I am an ultranationalist paranoic, sure.

PD. Cook, never said that he had seen land. He deduced that there should be land, because he saw rocks attached to the icebergs.

“Castilla's doubtful (because he was Spanish) penetration to 64°S should be here, then James Cook's factual (because he was British) crossing of the Antarctic circle in 1773” No comments.

Firstly, you should better list your arguments concerning Drake on the talkpage of the article about him, because it is OT (off topic) item here. Secondly, all talks about possible Castilla's discoveries deal with Shetland islands not with the Antarctic mainland (in contrast, Bellingshausen sighted the mainland, Bransfield "set foot" also on the mainland). And the search in that time was namely for the Antarctic mainland, not for islands. Even English sources, claiming that Shetland islands were discovered by British discoverers in 1819, don't claim, that this was the discovery of Antarctica.Thirdly, even in the main source cited by you is stated: En efecto, su posible avistaje en 1603 de tierras antárticas, las Shetland del Sur... [1]. Besides that, I didn't find neither exact dates nor the timeline of Castilla's voyage anywhere on the internet. That's why this seems possible, but doubtful for me. Cmapm 13:12, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

Look, this makes no sense anymore.

Fortunately, the wikipedia en Español, i.e., the Spanish wikipedia, names Gabriel de Castilla as the first one sighting Antarctic lands (it seems that for the one who takes care of the Spanish version, Castilla’s sighting is not so doubtful, it was not so difficult for him to confirm the information), and I have nothing to do with this.

I have typed too much here, despite I knew that it was totally useless. I will not change anything.

Thanks for your attention, bye.

Fortunately, there is also wikipedia in Russian, where it is stated,that Antarctida was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev (I don't contribute to the Russian wiki at all). English wiki, however, showed me:it's not that easy.
I didn't and don't intend to revert any of your possible changes, I only introduced my own view, that Spanish version is too weak until more information about Gabriel de Castilla and his voyage will be available (from archives, libraries, internet, whatever, but exact and verifiable). Anyway, people can decide themselves, whose arguments were stronger and how should the Spanish version be presented here. ][[User:Cmapm|Cmapm] 18:29, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

How about the Indians? Tierra del Fuego isn't that far from Antarctica. St. Brendan and the Vikings travelled further to get to North America.

I know my country. It is IMPOSSIBLE for an Indian to navigate 1000 km through the antarctic convergence.

Hi folks! Regarding the sequence of 1819 events involving the San Telmo you might wish to see the recently expanded article Livingston Island. Apcbg 21:21, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Maybe the point on Castilla deserves mentioning, but as a theory rather than as a proven fact.--Tlle1 (talk) 19:22, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Strongly agree with Cmarm above. The article in question was a secondary source and is no longer available at any of the links provided here or elsewhere. The article could presumably be reposted on a Spanish-language website, but it hasn't been. And it presumably referred to primary sources, not one of which was mentioned in this discussion. So far, on this potentially interesting point, there has been more talk than work. Let's hope someone can take it forward soon. Nargoon (talk) 14:31, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
After a very difficult search I have finally tracked down an incomplete but useable copy of this article, for which I will try to insert the link below on the Gabriel de Castilla page.
Unlike those who rush to cite him, including our colleague above, Dr Vasquez means exactly what he says by the question-mark in his title. He cites no primary sources himself, but follows Balch and Barros in concluding (a) that some ship's crew may have sighted the Antarctic Peninsula in or about 1603, and (b) that on the evidence of a single Dutch document, Castilla may have sailed as far south as 64°. The problem has always been that the brief note recording that Laurens Claess took part in such a voyage makes no reference to any sighting of land. (Of course he could have mentioned it, but the scribe didn't believe him or wanted to keep the matter secret. But equally of course that's just speculation, not history.) Anyway by 1622 Dutch geographers were convinced that land resembling the mountainous coasts of Norway had been seen that far south by Dirck Gerritz. However Gerritz's claim is not convincing either, when examined closely, so who else might it have been? Etc. etc. Those who want to look into this properly should download a copy of E.S. Balch's Antarctica (1902) where many of the original documents were transcribed.
I personally find it pleasing that we can be fairly certain Antarctica was sighted by a ship-load of people, almost certainly of several nationalities and almost certainly because they were blown off course while trying to get somewhere else, over 200 years before the whole Bellingshausen / Bransfield / Palmer brouhaha ever got started. But also that we don't know for certain who they were and we probably never will. But perhaps I'm being too post-modern for some people... (talk) 10:34, 10 July 2010 (UTC)


This needs help...

Someone here deleted that Argentina was the first country to settle an antarctic full-year base. I'm sory for British nationalists but I think they arrived something like 40 years late. In 1904 the British goverment in the falklands recognised "The south orkney islands, the Shetland Islands and Graham Land are undeniably part of the Republic of Argetnina" in 1908 they thought it wasn't convenient and claimed it again. Please dont erase facts. I know, truth isn't always good. -- Argentino 8 July 2005 18:20 (UTC)

Sorry for Argentine nationalists but we all need to cite sources. If a statement is verifiable in a reputable source then it shouldn't be deleted - if it's asserted without source then people who believe something different to be the truth are quite within their rights to remove it. Worldtraveller 17:27, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
[6] (spanish). Argentino 17:37, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
    • In 1903 a litle English settelment on Lauri island (S.Orkneys) was territorially given to Argentina by the founders and, by 1904, it became the first antarctic base (and the only one for 40 years). According to [7] The base was meteriological station before and after Argentina took it over in 1904. It therefore did not become the first base, it already was a base, established by the British explorer William Bruce. According to [8] other bases were established soon afterwards, so the 40 year claim is somewhat innaccurate. The base on Lauri deserves a mention, as does the Argentine contribution to Antarctic history, but lets not try and claim more for it that it deserves. Sabine's Sunbird 01:22, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
      • You don't know that there IS a difference between "station" and "base", do you? Argentino 18:09, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
        • Techinically, yes, but most people I know tend to use the two interchangebly. Myself included. Sabine's Sunbird 21:57, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
    • Well: a station is when there are just a little number of buildings, a base is much larger. A base is opend all the time, the station is generaly inhabitated in summer. I don't know when was the first station built. I know that Argentine fishermen had many stations by the 1850. But as it is said in "the first man sighting the Antartica", if it had been the British to establish a BASE in 1904, there would be 1000 heroic films about that. Sadly we (Argentinians) are not English, so the anglosaxon imperialism forbids you to believe. You aren't the "crème de la crème" of the world. To be 2nd doesn't mean to be the worst
      • Calm down, calm down, no need to get on your high horse. I lived in Argentina for 5 years (during the Malvinas War, no less), and came away loving the place; I'm no cultural imperisalist. So I'm not interested in denigrating the Argentine base, which is for sure one of the earliest, longest running etc etc. I do think that a) arguing about the differences between a base and a station is making a distinction that would be lost on most English speakers, and therefore slightly misleading and b) I want to do some serious research on this but that will have to wait till I can get of some better books than I have avaliable right now. When I next visit my father his collection of books on Argentine and Antarctic history should hit the spot. As for the comment about films, I think the British prefer their heros to fail misreably but heroically. Being heroic and not killing yourself and all your men is considered cheating. That is why Scott is more famous than Bruce! Sabine's Sunbird 18:19, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Argentino, if you're here to battle against anglo-saxon revisionism, I'm afraid you're tilting at windmills. If there are respectable historical sources that say that, say, Argentinians invented fire, we should report that. If sources say there is disagreement as to whether it was the Argentinians or the Chileans, we should report that. This is not a place for original research on who did what, but a place to report what is known in a way which is free from bias. Anyone pushing a view of history skewed to be pro-British, pro-Argentinian or pro anyone else will not get very far. Worldtraveller 20:41, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Ok, if we all agree, the first antarctic base was argentinian and no one is going to delete it anymore, ok?. and I have the proof:

comnap Council Of Managers Of National Antarctic Programs
DNA Direccion Nacional de la Antártida (in english) Now im going to write it again.(for the 5th time) Argentino 20:31, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Things work here by consensus, not by decree. I'd request that you please stop editing with a blinkered pro-Argentinian viewpoint and work from the facts in co-operation with other editors. Your links can't be considered proof of what you claim - these links contradict it with three different counter-claims: [9], [10], [ pag/antar_history/pag/drames3.htm]. We need to discuss the situation sensibly, establish which sources are reputable and authoritative, and what the article is going to say, without blustering nationalism. Worldtraveller 21:17, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

I said "im going to" (future) to let people express theirself. If truth isnt probritish mustnt be debritish. If the Council Of Managers Of National Antarctic Programs is not a "reputable and authoritative" source, wat would you like? A letter signed by God?- Argentino 23:09, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Fist Antarctic Base[edit]

I agree we have to find consensus, but lets also be open minded. Worldtraveller: your two counter-claims [11] and [12] are not coherent to each other, and I believe that when the second text says:"Britain, which established the first Antarctic base in 1944" is definitely committing POV. The first text reads "1902 - 04. Bruce and his team found Coats Land, set up the first Antarctic base and charted the Weddell Sea.", which I think we have all agreed to be true. Now, the base was a (meteorologic) temporal one, but Bruce was found trapped in icy waters, what kept him there (and his crew) for a hole year. Due to the fact that Argentina gave support before (with supplies, and a crew member) and anfter (rescuing the expedition), Bruce decides to leave the stations to Argentina (as he was not going to stay there anymore). Since then, Argentina kept a permanent base there. I understand this is the first base in Antarctica, but I'm open to hear why you think it is not. Please, read Orcadas Base first. Thanks, -Mariano 08:42, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

  • A NPOV statement would read something like In 1904 William Bruce established a base on Lauire Island, with Argentine support, a year later he left the base to Argentina -(do we know who took the base over?)- which has maintained the station as a meteriological reserach facility, later renamed Orcadas Base, ever since, making it the oldest permenant base in Antarctica. Work for anyone else? Sabine's Sunbird 18:38, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Bruce's Osmond House station was settled during the Antarctic summer of 1903, and he left it in 1904. Argentine Military took control of the station, in name of the Argentine Government. Is this too long:?

In 1903 the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition commanded by William Bruce established the Osmond House meteorological station on Laurie Island. A year later Bruce leaves the station to the Argentine government, which has maintained the station as a research facility, later renamed Orcadas Base, ever since, making it the oldest permanent base in Antarctica.

-Mariano 10:26, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

I seam to have mixed Nordenskjöld's 1902 and Bruce's 1903 expeditions. I'll start fixing it up. it was Nordenskjöld's expedition the one Sobral joined, and the one rescued by the Uruguay corvette.

Bruce (those days all the ships seam to have pass thrgough Buenos Aires for supplies) got stuck in the ice and had to spend a winter there. In spring he went back to Buenos Aires in December 1903 for suplies and to repair the ship. Bruce sold the station on the Antarctica to the Argentine government under the conditions of not keeping record of the monetary transaction that should look like a donation, and the compromise of keeping the station running.

It's not only the first permanent base , but also the first post office. :)

OK, got lots of fixes to do. -Mariano 10:48, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

(And there are people that havent read the differences between BASE and station, avobe)Argentino 23:12, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Are we after concensus here, or just POV sniping? (PS I did read and address your point) Sabine's Sunbird 01:03, 21 July 2005 (UTC)


The article is in contradiction with Antarctica article. Who were the first - Americans or Russians?--Nixer 21:46, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Also was Emilio Palma born first in 1978 or was it Norwegian girl Solveig Gunbjörg Jacobsen from 1913?

Palma was born in the Antarctic peninsula, while Jacobsen was born in Grytviken (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands), northern of the 60º limit. Palma is recogniced by the Guinnes Record to be the first one born in AntarcticaMariano(t/c) 07:06, 10 April 2006 (UTC)


  • Soviet Union-1963-stamp-Antarctica-4K.jpg Maybe usefull image. --Snek01 22:56, 19 March 2006 (UTC)


The present text dealing with the discovery of the Antarctic Continent is confusing, factually incorrect, and contradicts its own quoted sources. The present wording is:

The first confirmed sighting of Antarctica cannot be accurately attributed to one single person. It can, however, be narrowed down to three individuals. According to various sources (the National Science Foundation[1], United States House of Representatives member Peter DeFazio[2], NASA [3] and the University of California, San Diego[4]), three men all sighted Antarctica within days or weeks of each other; Fabian von Bellingshausen (a captain in the Russian Imperial Navy), Edward Bransfield (a captain in the British navy), and Nathaniel Palmer (an American sealer out of Stonington, Connecticut). Bransfield supposedly saw Antarctica on January 27, 1820, three days before Palmer sighted land. It is certain that on January 28, 1820 (New Style) the expedition led by Fabian von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev on two ships reached a point within 20 miles (32 km) of the Antarctic mainland and saw ice-fields there. On January 30, Bransfield approached Trinity Peninsula, the northernmost point of the Antarctic mainland, and went ashore on a pinnace.
Only slightly more than a year later, the first American landing on Antarctica was arguably by Captain John Davis, a sealer, who claimed to have set foot there on February 7, 1821, though this is not acknowledged by all historians.[5][6][7].

The sightings in question did not happen within weeks of each other. Bransfield did not supposedly see Antarctica on January 27, 1820. That date is not three days before Palmer sighted land. On January 30 Bransfield did not went ashore. The only true statement above is that the first American landing on Antarctica was by Captain John Davis on February 7, 1821, and only because he was the first man ever to do so, according to existing documental evidence.

The above text in the article is not supported by its sources, which clearly say that Palmer saw the continent in November 1820, that is several months (not days or weeks) after Bellingshausen and Bransfield. Bransfield saw the continent on January 30, 1820, and Bellingshausen did so three days before. This is now widely accepted, after more than a century of arguments between British, American and Russian historians.

This early Antarctic history is more correctly presented in the articles Antarctica and Livingston Island as follows.


The first confirmed sighting of Antarctica can be narrowed down to the crews of ships captained by two individuals. According to various organizations (the National Science Foundation,[3] NASA,[4] the University of California, San Diego,[5] and other sources[6][7]), ships captained by three men sighted Antarctica in 1820: Fabian von Bellingshausen (a captain in the Russian Imperial Navy), Edward Bransfield (a captain in the British Navy), and Nathaniel Palmer (an American sealer out of Stonington, Connecticut). Von Bellingshausen supposedly saw Antarctica on January 27, 1820, three days before Bransfield sighted land, and ten months before Palmer did so in November 1820. On that day the expedition led by Fabian von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev on two ships reached a point within 32 km (20 miles) of the Antarctic mainland and saw ice fields there.

Livingston Island:

In December 1819 William Smith returned with his ship to the South Shetlands once again. This time he was chartered by Captain William Shirreff, British commanding officer in the Pacific stationed in Chile, and accompanied by Lieutenant Edward Bransfield who was tasked to survey and map the new lands. On 30 January they sighted the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula, unaware that far away to the east and only three days earlier, the Continent had already been discovered by the Russian Antarctic expedition of Fabian Gottlieb Thaddeus von Bellingshausen and Mihail Lazarev.
One year later, the Russians had circumnavigated Antarctica and arrived in the South Shetlands region in January 1821 to find over 50 American and English sealing vessels and 1000 men taking hundreds of thousands of fur seal skins. While sailing between Deception Island and Livingston (named Smolensk by the Russians) Bellingshausen met the American Captain Nathaniel Palmer, yet another pioneer of Antarctic exploration who himself had sighted the mainland in the previous November. Thus while the Antarctic Continent was first seen in 1820, its early discovery has been contested on behalf of Bransfield, Palmer and Bellingshausen by their respective nations for more than a century. That priority is now generally credited to the Russians.
The first landing on the Continent itself was made on 7 February 1821 at Hughes Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula, as the American vessel Huron of Captain John Davis was exploring for seals the area south of the South Shetlands.

This main article History of Antarctica is supposed to expand the subject, unfortunately on this particular point it seems to bring confusion instead. Maybe someone could rewrite the paragraph. Apcbg 06:49, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

U.S. Marshal exploring the South Pole[edit]

Antarctica South Pole.jpg

Any idea what's up with this picture being in the "Exploration" section and being titled "___ explores the South Pole"? I went to the link and found that this dates from 1989. Maybe someone can evaluate whether it's historically worthwhile or is just some hilarious vandalism. -Rolypolyman 15:24, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

It was added by User:Gflores - it is somewhat relevant to the article but not the top of the exploration section. Due to the short length of the article and present layout, there doesn't seem anywhere to put it. Seeing there is no mention of the story related to the picture it can probably be removed - I'll leave that decision up to the rest of you. Richard001 23:56, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree, there's probably a hundred pictures of various people like this. Thus, it really serves no purpose in the article.--Dbackes 17:55, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Flat earth[edit]

I doubt that the Medieval people thought that a round (spherical?) Earth went against Scripture, when the most Christian Divine Comedy (13..) mentions a Southern hemisphere. -- 10:56, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Contradiction first land sighted down 60º[edit]

Please see the contradictino by yourselves.

The first land south of the parallel 60° south latitude was discovered by the Englishman William Smith, who sighted Livingston Island on 19 February 1819. Few months later Smith returned to explore the other islands of the South Shetlands archipelago, landed on King George Island, and claimed the new territories for Britain.

Bellingshausen's (1820) expedition also discovered Peter I Island and Alexander I Island, the first islands to be discovered south of the circle.

There are two claims of "first land south of parallel 60º south". One in 1819 y another in 1820.

I guess then that Livingston island was the first, not Peter I or Alexander I islands.

No contradiction; the first land sighted south of 60° south latitude was Livingston Island, by William Smith; Peter I Island was the first land discovered south of the Antarctic Circle which is not 60° but 66°33′39″ south latitude. However, this article is less than well structured indeed. Apcbg 08:41, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

....youre so right. I´m so ashamed.

First landing?[edit]

I'm reluctant to plunge in here, but I don't see why Mercator Cooper is not preferred over Alexander von Tunzelmann and Co. for the "first landing on the Antarctic contnent". Why is Cooper always refered to as landing on "East Antarctica" - surely that counts? Snori (talk) 18:24, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

There ain't no Tunzelmann in this article, hence Cooper is preferred. Both of them landed in East Antarctica, and Cooper obviously did so some 40 years earlier. It is true that the 1895 landing at Cape Adare by Borchgrevink's party (of which Tunzelmann was a member) got an early publicity, and in the past they were often credited as having made the first landing on the continent. However, following the discovery of John Davis's logbook in the 1950s, it is now generally accepted that the first landing on the mainland was actually made by a landing party sent by Davis onshore at Hughes Bay on 7 February 1821. As for the incorrect claims made in the Mercator Cooper and Alexander von Tunzelmann articles, that's not a problem of the present article. Hope this helps. Apcbg (talk) 18:32, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

File:Pole-observation.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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